Friday, May 31, 2013

TGIF, and I really mean it this time

Oh my, my. I can't remember the last time I have been looking forward to a Friday so much.

Hot date? Flying off to an exotic vacation? Staring in some interesting reality TV show you may wonder? No, nope, not any of these. I am just so, so, so, so, so pleased that the weekend is upon us, and that I don't have my darling daughters for a few days.

Yes, I know, that sounds so awful, and callous, and anti-maternal, and, well, truthful.

I love my girls. They are amazing. And exhausting; the ratio is just so bad when we're together. The 3:1 odds has me playing defense ALL THE TIME. This is to be expected. They all need things from their parent. Some of them more than others. But with the numbers as they are, there is rarely a time when someone doesn't need something from me. And yes, it's my job. I signed up for it. And I love it.

But this past week has been grueling. We spent last weekend at Disneyland for a dance competition (cue fake eyelashes and sequins and spinney-turny girls of all kinds squealing and cheering) and it was a lot of fun. But, yes, you guessed it, extremely tiring.( I would love to see Disney's attendance records for the weekend, because it was packed - in the park, at the pool, waking Downtown Disney, in the dance venue, etc. -- a sea of bodies -- big, small, fat, thin, crying, screaming, and laughing. All spending their money. That place is a money-making machine.)

But Fun. We will repeat that. Ok?

When we arrived back home from the Disney adventure on Monday mid-day, overtired, under-slept, cranky, and in need of showers and naps, all that we left behind was still waiting. There was still the rental that needed to be completely packed up by the next morning at 8 AM. Holymotherofgod. How the hell am I going to pull this off? (Of course I had a very good head start. I'm not completely stupid. But a lot of work remained.)

But I did pull it off. And the movers came. And the movers left. And now all of our combined 3:1 crap is in an amazing display of disarray at the new house.

It's exciting!! And overwhelming. And begs to be put away and organized and tidied up. But you know what? The ratio remains and I have a job. One that is supposedly full time. So, we've been digging through the stuffed garbage bags of clean(?) clothes, and sharing one brush, and eating take out. There has been no time in the chaos that we call the work week to get much done.

So, let me finally get back to my original point, THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!

Hope you're all as excited about it as me....

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Me Me Me

Most people spend their Memorial Day weekend doing quintessential American activities: going to parades and cookouts, cleaning cemeteries and writing patriotic songs, hanging bunting.

Around here we just take photos of Me. Me Me Me.

Me Cooking Burgers . . .

. . . on a sea of Spring green.

Me with Purple Iris.

Me on the computer outside . . .

. . . me on the computer inside.

Me with a rainbow.

Riveting, right?

Hey, wait, where's Me?

Phew. That's better.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Birthday parties are a fact of life. They are fewer are farther between now that we’ve entered the mysterious world of tweens, but they still occur with predictable regularity. Gone, however, are the days when we parents had to accompany our kids to these shindigs, inevitably at an indoor venue at 2:00 on a beautiful weekend afternoon.  We’d stand around and make small talk with other parents while our children careened in and out of frightening human habitrails. We broke up fights, we wiped noses and faces and butts, we endured. We took our turns  hosting the parties, coaching our kids about how to politely unwrap a crappy present (make eye contact, say thank you, we’ll exchange it later), making the cakes, paying the bills.

So parents don’t hang out at birthday parties after our kids reach a certain age. Suddenly the invitations contain drop off and pick up times, and we enter a secret solidarity with the parents of our children’s friends, an unspoken understanding that each of our times will come, and we’ll try to make it as easy as possible on each other.  Those are good years.

But then, our kids have the nerve to develop friendships outside our family’s social circle. Of course we encourage diversity and community and blah blah blahdy dah, but this creates a dangerous situation in which there is no solidarity among us parents.  We can’t call bullshit when someone brings home a hideous invitation.

Last weekend – MeMORial day weekend - my girl was  invited to a party that was far away, at a mall, from 5-8 on a Saturday. That’s three strikes.  Bullshit!  But they don’t call me mother of the year for nothing. Of course I said she could go. I figured I’d find a carpool for at least one leg of the journey. When that attempt fell through, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to kill a few hours at the mall. I invited forced bribed a couple of teenage boys to join me, I had credit cards and a book, how bad could it possibly be?

It. Was. Not. Good. I honestly did not realize that there were malls out here that didn’t boast sunny palm lined walkways in between the retail establishments. It was one of those building malls where you walked in and were instantly deprived of all measurable oxygen. It made my eyes sag in there. No likee.  It was a long three hours. I walked about 80 miles and had dinner with the boys and did manage to find a few

Eventually, eternally, finally, it was time to fetch the girl and run for the hills. I just had to pop in to the BabyVegas pizza place and grab her up and we’d be on her way.

Okyeah almostready wehavefivemoretokens ipromisedtosharetheprizecrap ijustneedtocashinthese986tickets andohmygodmom ihavetocashthesein ididallthatfornothing itsnotfairfiveminutesiPROMISE

30 minutes later. Strike four.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Iri

Best days of the year, peeps, best days.

No, I'm not talking about the late-May freezing cold, or all the rain.

I'm talking about the gigantic blossoming irises.

They look like they're all doing sign language, those glorious purple irisesiris, iri . . .

. . . don't they?

I think they even have, like, gang genus signs.

What? Oh yes, that's me, impervious, reading in the middle of an iris patch, whilst Mistah is lying down on the grass beside me, taking photos. What a huge gigantic surprise*.


But back to les fleurs , to their perfection, their beauty . . .

. . .  their complete in-the-moment joyousness . . .

Happy Memorial Day, lovelies.

Friday, May 24, 2013

la la long time girl

Didn't you love it when Beth revived an old favorite post for us last week? I did, and I"m not just saying that because I'm about to copycat the idea. This week marked the anniversary of my lovely niecey-poo's relocation from East Coast to West, from Chapel Hill to LaLa Land. In the course of acknowledging the occasion, I dragged up a link to the post I wrote about helping that girl-on-fiyah get settled in her new digs. I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but that shit was funny, and I thought y'all might want to join me for a flashback to May 24 of last year:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

LaLa Girl

The left side of my neck is fully jacked up. My shoulder is also in a state of dismay, and all of the muscles in my upper arm (mah guns) are sore. I suppose that is to be expected after helping somebody move.  And what a move it was... our lovely Chapel Hill Carrboro LaLa girl has been transplanted!

You can imagine the amount of stuff that a young woman on the brink of greatness would bring along on a cross country relocation.  She had two whole duffel bags! And a messenger bag. And, I think, a wallet.

It was hard!

I took the day off and drove up to LAX to meet my scrumptious niece, who had done gone and bought herself a one way ticket to LaLa land. She's got a job and an apartment and more potential in her wee tiny pinkie tootsie than any of us mere mortals have in our whole selves, including our imaginations. But at least we have beds. 

Oh. Nevermind.

But wait, let me back up. I got to the airport stupidly early, not knowing if I'd hit traffic or lose a tire or something. Colleen's flight was delayed so I got to hang out for a while and watch the freakshow. I was so wrapped up in one couple's riveting saga that I almost didn't even see our girl descending on  the escalator! So I didn't catch the arrival photo. I didn't catch most of the obligatory photos, and once again I did not have a Schlekah at my disposal. Not even one. But I had my girl with her pink mountain lungs, and I felt terrible about bringing her outside into the gray heavy air of Los Angeles.

Because the universe is a magical fairy land, it just so happened that Julie and Colleen had an acquaintance in Asheville who wanted to rid himself of a bed in a house just a few blocks from Colleen's new apartment. That's the house in the photo above, the one with the narrow staircase, see? We considered flinging the mattress like a frisbee from the top of the stairs to the hilly street below where my car was parked, but then Colleen had the brilliant idea to just slide the mofo down the railing. The flinging would have been more flamboyant and fun, but this was okay too. I thought it was important to capture that moment up there. Look how much fun! As soon as we got to the bottom, a friendly neighbor popped over to hoist the mattress up onto my roof for us, and then he scurried off, leaving us to secure the thing with some pretty orange rope I'd bought just that morning.

We didn't know what we were doing per se, there was no method to our fastening. We just threw the rope thing back and forth to each other, alternating over and under the roof rack, at one point we opted to go through the back windows, we enlisted the mattresses grab handles and tied complicated knots and we kept it up until the mattress was snug as a bug. Then we crossed our fingers and climbed in and got ready to head down the hill.   

We opened the sun roof because... well, because we could. And I thought it was very important to keep a close eye on the mattress to make sure it wasn't moving.

I got a little nervous when we started to drive. I could clearly see a scene unfold in my mind's eye: the mattress would fly off of the car and land on the street or the windshield of the car behind me, causing me to be horrified beyond belief and/or murdered in cold blood by a raging roadster. At the very least I would probably cause a traffic problem in LA at 5pm on a Tuesday, and I would definitely get shot.

It was going fairly well, though. We didn't have to get on the freeway in between addresses, and the first few turns were quiet residential streets where I could go very slowly and we could all focus on my shrieking accusations that IT IS MOVING! And Colleen's quiet reassurances that it was not.  We each had an arm out of our window to keep tabs on the mattress, in my case keeping tabs meant maintaining a death grip that caused all of the muscles on the left side of my arm and torso to seize and revolt, thus rendering mah guns and neck so shamefully flummoxed the next day.   

Then we had to go on a bit of a bigger, more populated avenue to reach our destination. We were expected to drive a little faster, but we could feel the front of the mattress lifting upward against the force of the oncoming wind, and that lifting was almost enough to send me straight into hysterics.  

Almost, but not quite.

There came a certain point when I got tired of holding on to the mattress out my window. It was uncomfortable and annoying and it wasn't doing anything to prevent or delay the inevitable carnage, so I just let go. Colleen was impressed with my ability to so suddenly completely change my disposition on the matter, but I am nothing if not a woman of surprising strength and calm in the face of probable crashing and murder.

And guess what? We made it.

What were you so worried about, Colleen?
As we untied the complicated knots to release the mattress from its bondage, a man walked up the street pulling his two grandchildren in a little red radio flyer wagon. He pointed at me and said "watch the kids" then asked Colleen where the mattress was going and promptly popped it up on top of his head and carried it right up the stairs into her second story apartment and into her empty new bedroom. I kept busy winding the rope back onto its cage thingie while one of the kids fell out of the wagon.

And then we unloaded the few silly things I had managed to bring along from my house that I thought might help a girl on the move feel more settled in to a big, strange new city. It's the little things, after all: sheets and peanut butter and a lamp made by her Jidoo.

Swoon, goes my heart.

It was really hot out. I brought her the hot comforter hoping that she's a cold sleeper. I did think the cooler comforter would be better, but I felt bad after taking it directly off of my sleeping son to put in my car, so I gave it back to him.
Then we decided to go out for a bite before I had to hit the road back south. We laid on the floor in her empty apartment and yelped nearby mexican restaurants, finding the exactly perfect place and then driving around in concentric circles (me) instead of looking at the directions (her) to get there. 

Here Colleen is telling me about her very interesting work and hopes and dreams while I take note that her nose hoop matches the purple of the mural's bougainvillea perfectly
It was a big day, a day full of adventure and life changing risk taking and possibilities.

I bet it was exciting for Colleen, too.
Welcome to the left coast, LaLa Girl! Never forget that I can be there in less time than it takes to watch a feature length film.

I'm not sure about a documentary.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The long(est) weekend

I was feeling pretty good today. A bit guilty that my moving-related tasks were keeping me from my day job for so many hours of today, but pretty accomplished nonetheless.

The floor guys are done. They came back for a quick touch-up today, but are now done. Mario, who is painting, is making good progress. I met with someone about making some built-ins in daughter 2's room, and the washer and dryer were delivered and seem to work fine.

After all this I even had time to double back home to grab a bathing suit for daughter 3, which I had forgotten at my current home, and then drive to my ex-husband's house to pick up softball gear for daughter 2 before meeting my mom and daughters 1 & 2 at daughter 3's preschool (Hi Jacquie!).

We then even dropped off daughter 1 at tutoring on time, and got daughter 2 to softball practice also on time, and daughter 3 to her swimming lesson only 1 minute late. Post-lesson, we retrieved daughter 1 from tutoring, then grabbed sandwiches at a local sub shop, because, well, I've packed every pot and pan, and will not be cooking for the next week or so. We then grab daughter 2, everyone is fed, and it's all down hill from here, right?

Right, except that daughter 3 is not going to sleep, and daughter 2 has softball gear that cannot go without washing, and daughter 1 just open the freezer and an entire water bottle that daughter 2 had shoved in there crashes to the floor, busts open and creates an immediate lake.

Where are the damn towels? Oh, yes, packed away. Shit, is it seeping into those packed cardboard boxes? F*@k

Oh look, daughter 3 is up again.

You get the point, right? It's tedious, I know. But you know the best part? Between now and when the moving van actually gets here, every day is like this, but busier. You probably think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. There's a doctor appointment, a field trip, a movie-night at school, an extra day that preschool is closed, all in addition to the regul..

If you'll excuse me for a second, daughter 1 just came in to tell me her stomach hurts and she needs a Tums. Let me run and get that real quick-like.

Now, what was I saying?

Oh yeah, let me get to the point.....

If we make it into our new home on Tuesday, I should get some kind-of endurance award. Even if I do yell through most of the upcoming long(est) weekend.

Micky better look out, cause I'm in no mood for any mousy-business. Oh, yeah, I think I forget to mention we leave at 6:30 am on Saturday for Disneyland. What's that you say? It's memorial day weekend, so what kind of psycho would be headed to the most crowded happiest place on earth this particular weekend?

Oh, we would. We would because we've got a dance competition to attend. At Disneyland. On memorial day weekend. Daughter 1 performs both Saturday and Sunday.

No, I'm not making this shit up.

But hey, it's not all bad, this did just pop up on my "Disneyland" Google search:

Disneyland Bars - Top 25 drinks

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jolly Gardener

It is, arguably, the best day of the year . . .

. . . the day when Mistah fills the wheelbarrow with different varieties of dirt . . .

. . . and mixes them up . . .

. . . and installs seedlings . . .

. . . to create a big, happy, day of planting . . .

. . . that's pronounced plahnting.

He's a Jolly Gardner, that Mistah.

And I am a Jolly Enjoyer of the Jolly Gardener.

Because it begins right here, right now, our journey into  summer and warmth and tomatoes and gigantic green warm love . . .

. . . it's Jolly.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

last laugh?

Working on a college campus, it’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of the collective student psyche. Yesterday when I was going to my car, I passed a girl who was walking up the hill at a rapid pace, openly weeping. Like, not wiping her eyes or hiding behind shades or acting like she was having an allergy attack. Just bawling. (I checked, she was okay). Then I drove up the same hill and had to brake for a group of 3 people running – sprinting around the parking lot, whooping. Literally whooping. Today is the last day of finals.

Tomorrow the parking lots will be empty except for some castaway lamps and beer bongs that didn’t make it into the fleet of minis with cryptic greek messages streaked across their retreating windows.

I’ll watch them drive off through my office window, and I’ll get that quick flash of adrenaline because YES, it’s a beautiful day and we’re young and we’re beautiful and we’re free! I’ll think up a way to take the rest of the day or week off, and I’ll call upon my peeps to meet me at the beach/pool/bar and kick off another spectacular san diego summer!

But when I grab my car keys from my mess of a desk, I’ll catch sight of my list, scratched onto the last blank page of the steno pad full of lists. And I’ll see words like fiscal year end and MCO and construction schedule and enrollment and summer program and request for time off and ………oh yeah. I already had my turn.

So I’ll stay here, in my office, and I’ll enjoy the beautiful summer after 5 and on weekends. And I’ll always find a parking space and I’ll never have to wait behind someone counting nickels for a coffee and there will be far less eye candy to behold on campus.  

But I’ve got their beer bongs.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Photo booth reflections redeux

I have blogged about photo booth photos before. And Jacquie has too. Jacquie may actually have a slight disability when it comes to the whole 4-shot set up, but she rocks three of the four photos nonetheless.

I've been known to say that if I ever have a big party, I'll rent a photo booth because they are so much fun.

Well my friend Shellie just had such a party. She threw a blowout 49th birthday party this past Saturday night. And in addition to all the booze and food, which was abundant and included cupcakes by none other than a Cupcake Wars winner (Pure Cupcakes in PB) and an ice-cold Ballast Point keg, also award-winning and sourced locally, there was a band and a photo booth. With props.

I didn't even know there were props my first time in the booth. I ended up in there almost straightaway with none other than Ralph Dinosaur, lead singer of Ralph Dinosaur and the Fabulous Volcanos, out of Durango, Colorado.

Yes, these guys came all the way out here from Durango to play for Shellie and her people. And don't worry, Ralph didn't forget his women's undergarments.

He was just off his first set, and talking to Shellie, when I arrived, and before either of us knew what was happening, photo booth guy ushered us into the photo booth. As you'll see below, props absolutely not needed:

 I'll have to take this to Durango with me this summer to see if it will grant me free entry into one of their gigs...

A bit later on, Donna and Susan and I did hit up the props.

Batman with princesses? Perfect.

Thanks for the fun, Shellie. And happy belated.

Friday, May 17, 2013


There is nothing better than Bruncheon, is there?

Wait, let me qualify.

There is nothing better than Bruncheon . . .

. . . with prosecco . . .

. . . and your choice of juice . . . 

. . . on Mother's Day . . .

. . . with mothers . . .

. . . and bacon . . .

. . . and fruit . . .

. . . and a 50th Birthday Boy . . .

. . . with tulips . . .

. . . and the best family . . .

. . . and the best friends.

There is nothing like Bruncheon.

It's the most important meal of the day.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

bye guy

I thought I would wait until next week to write about this, but who am I kidding? It’s really the only thing on my mind. Today is day 3 of my first ever purifying cleanse. Do I seem pure?

I’ve been needing a food intervention for a while now. A pound here and a pound there is no big deal, until those stray pounds gang up on me to become a number of pounds that warrants losing.

I strongly prefer not to diet. I like to think that if I eat good food and exercise regularly, I’ll always remain the goddess of my imagination. I lost a lot of weight when my kids were little, and have vowed never to buy a bigger clothing size. I am still within that size, but some things are less comfy when they strangle my burgeoning spare tire.  

Aside: one night a long time ago, Ellie and I were facebook messaging and one of us mentioned our gut, but with the typo of “guy”, and we died laughing as we referred to our bellies as guys for the rest of the conversation.  “nigh night, lil’ guy!”

I guess I don’t do very well with just trying to eat less, I need to have a plan and be pretty strict about it. So one day at Costco I found myself sampling 3 juices from a pre-packaged cleanse, and they were all tasty enough so I bought it, and kept it in the fridge until I was ready to jump in, which I did this Tuesday.  My intention was not that this would be a magical transformative elixir, I doubt that there will even be any noticeable weight loss, but by keeping track of everything I put in to this hot bod for 3 whole days and eliminating meat/dairy/chemicals/refined sugar/bad carbs/ohmygodcoffee/ohmygodbooze, I’d kick start some sort of reset from which I could start to tackle the guy.  (hi guy!)

In typical Jacquie fashion, I started first and then tried to figure out what I was supposed to do. This is a relatively easy cleanse since you get to have actual food in addition to the 3 drinks every day.  I figured I could improvise since I had to go to Trader Joe’s before lunch on Tuesday anyway. So in I jumped, with my first drink

PREPARE: acerola cherry + lemon + cayenne superfood juice

Holy hell, that thing packs a punch! Excellent cayenne kick, thank you doctah. I also got to have some nuts, which I did not have so I picked the almonds out of a pack of trail mix. Close enough. 

A few hours later after returning from Trader Joe’s with my bounty, I prepared the midmorning snack

Berries and quinoa! Yum.  The recipe called for coconut oil but I can’t tolerate that shit for crazy reasons that perhaps I’ll explain some day but suffice it to say it’s a lice remedy and just…no.

Then for lunch I was supposed to have a red potato/green bean/mustard salad but because I was at work I opted to trade that meal out for some hippie leaf salad, which I traded out for this prepackaged kale/edamame salad because really, does a leaf even exist that is more hippie than kale? It was delicious even without the dressing and it’s 25 grams of fat.  Also, I had the drink

ELIMINATE: kale + apple + parsley + cucumber = PUKE. It tastes vaguely like grape leaves, but not in a good way.
I had my 3rd drink while driving home and I forgot to take a picture of it, it looks and tastes like chocolate milk, use your imagination. 

RECHARGE: brazil nut + cashew + cocoa 

Then I had a great, sweaty work out, then I raced home because I was so excited about my dinner:

open faced veggie burger on spinach salad with avocado, mushrooms, and red onion.

After dinner I made the potato salad to have for lunch on day 2, and prepped the drinkie poos.

Day 2 started again with the weirdly awesome spicy drink, then I had to wait til 10:00 for my mid-morning snack of berries and almonds.

I found myself hungry while waiting for 2:00, even though the thing I was waiting for was that vile green sludge. I took a moment out of my crazy productive day to look over my plan, and was so pissed to realize that I’d forgotten to put avocado on my veggie burger! I wuz ROBBED.  I also began to suspect that I had put too many potatoes in the lunch meal, because I have no idea about weights and measures. But my salad looked more like something one would put on the table with a serving spoon than a mid day meal for someone on a purifying cleanse. So I meticulously picked out half of the taters and threw them in the garbage. It was the hardest thing I’d ever done. But the good news was that I am really stupid! 10:00 + 3 hours  = 1:00, not 2:00! Yay!

I started writing this as I enjoyed that meal. And now that I am completely sucked in to the geekfest of publishing my cleanse, I see that it's pretty boring. I feel great, I've peed no less than 400 times, and I have just a slight headache to remind me that I haven't had coffee in two days. 

Let me wrap up by telling you what is in store for me for the rest of today and tomorrow, and I promise that if anything interesting transpires I will duly report back. Otherwise we'll move on. K? k.

4:00 RECHARGE: brazil nut + cashew + cocoa
        raw veggie snack

7:00 Creamy cauliflower zucchini soup. I forgot to get zucchini. Can I use asparagus? Thanks. 

Day 3
8:00  PREPARE: acerola cherry + lemon + cayenne superfood juice
         handful of nuts with grapefruit (you think I have grapefruit? you're wrong)
11:00 overnight oatmeal - no, I don't think so. Prolly the berries & quinoa again
2:00  ELIMINATE: kale + apple + parsley + cucumber (= PUKE)
         steamed veggies with tofu
5:00  RECHARGE: brazil nut + cashew + cocoa
8:00  some lentil/mushroom/butternut squash thing

Day 4
the end.